Pretty Woman – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Are you a romantic who believes in fairy tale stories with a “happily ever after” ending? Have you never given up loving Cinderella’s pumpkin inspired carriage driven by mice as handsome coachmen? Do you dream of stuffing your too big feet into her legendary glass slipper and finding your prince? If you recognize yourself, you are primed and ready to experience all the humorous adventures of “Pretty Woman: The Musical” lighting up Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts until Sunday, May 1.

With a book by Garry Marshall and J. F. Lawton and an original score by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, you are invited to open your heart to romance 24 carats worth. Come meet the suave and sophisticated business executive Edward Lewis, as portrayed by Adam Pascal, who likes and thrives on taking over companies in a battle royal. He uses and discards his women in the same fashion, if they haven’t said sayonara to him first. Right now he is in heavy negotiations for a new hostile take over bid and he needs a woman, an escort, to accompany him to social affairs. When he asks for directions and finds himself in the red light district of town, he happens upon a vivacious Vivian Ward and promptly buys her services for a week.

Along the way, we meet Vivian’s gal pal Kit (Jessica Crouch), Edward’s sleazy lawyer (Matthew Stocke), and a man for all seasons and reasons (Kyle Taylor Parker).

Olivia Valli’s Vivian may not have all the social skills she might need, but she has an aura and presence that mark her as special. The movie of the same name, now an unbelievable thirty years old, starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. Their business proposition together is marked by stunning mile high boots, fast cars, a terrific dance scene, her incandescent smile, and a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive that proves the worth of a gold plated credit card. Anything can happen in this fantasy world of incredible stakes, where everyone is entitled to dream.

For tickets ($35.50 and up), call the Bushnell Center, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at Performances are weekday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Masks are required.

What would a good romance be without a backdrop of sensational music as an accompaniment? Never fear, the mood is set, the hero and heroine are in place, and all you have to do is cheer them on to their “happily ever after.”